Presque Isle skates past defending state champs

15 years ago
By Kevin Sjoberg  
Sports Reporter

    PRESQUE ISLE – Friday proved to be a milestone night in a couple different ways for the Presque Isle Wildcat hockey team.
    Most importantly, the ’Cats shut the door firmly on last year’s losses to Greely during both the regular season and in the Class B state championship game with a 5-4 victory at the Forum over the Rangers. In the process, Presque Isle enters this afternoon’s game at Gardiner riding a four-game winning streak. 

    Also during Friday’s contest, senior forward Brennen Shaw claimed Presque Isle High School’s all-time points record with the 128th and 129th of his career. He eclipsed the mark of 128 which was held by Darren Carlisle, a 2002 graduate who accomplished the previous record while playing just two seasons with the Wildcats.
    Greely struck first as Pete Stauber scored 2:44 after the opening faceoff on assists by Kenny Richards and Ben Walsh. However, Presque Isle was undeterred as they scored three times in a span of 3:44 to take control. Shaw opened the flurry by coming in from the right and tucking a shot past Greely goalie Matt Labbe. Senior defenseman Steve Ford gave PI the lead before freshman Adam Flynn converted a pass from behind the net by Isaac LaJoie to make it 3-1 midway through the first period.
    “We knew their first one was a cheap goal and we just had to fight right back and get another one,” Shaw said, “and that’s what we did. Their goalie was weak in the beginning, so we just kept it coming.”
    The Wildcats kept pouring it on in the second period. Zac Campbell, off another assist by LaJoie, scored with 5:56 to play. Just over a minute later, Shaw scored off a rebound of a Ford shot to not only make school history, but also stake his team to a 5-1 advantage.
    “I thought we played very well defensively, which was our goal – not to give them quality scoring chances,” said PI coach Carl Flynn. “At the same time, we didn’t have a lot of beautiful goals – they were mostly garbage goals off screened shots and deflections – but that was exactly the game plan and things went well.”
    The third period was an entirely different story, however, and visitors from Cumberland got themselves back in the game. In a penalty-filled period, Devyn Rogers scored a power-play goal to cut PI’s lead to three. The Wildcats had a 5-on-3 opportunity a little later, but could not take advantage and then the Rangers scored on another power play with 2:49 left as Stauber again found the back of the net. Carter Cyr scored with 1:35 left to make it 5-4, but then time ran out on Greely and Presque Isle picked up some valuable tournament index points against the Western Maine foe.
    “It was stupid penalties,” was Shaw’s assessment of the comeback that fell just short. “Everyone was in the wrong mindset and thinking they could do anything with their stick.”
    Flynn attributed the poor period to the fact his team “started to lose their legs a little bit” and attributed to the game-heavy schedule the team had over the first 2-1/2 weeks.
    “Because of that, we don’t have a lot of chances to skate hard in practice and we’re using our sticks to catch up with guys instead of using our legs. They weren’t bad penalties, but they were lazy penalties.”
    Josh MacFarline was in net throughout the game for PI and had 22 saves. Labbe faced 27 in goal for Greely.
    Still, it turned into a good night for the Wildcats and improved their record to 4-1 overall. Ford is pleased with the strong start to the campaign.
    “We’ve been playing really good as a team basically,” Ford said. “We’ve been having really good practices and we really knew we needed this win.”
    Shaw said it’s a “good feeling” to own the school’s points mark.
    “I knew coming into the year that if I didn’t get injured I’d probably get [the record],” Shaw said. “I’ve got 15 games left, so hopefully I can score a lot of points and just see how many I can get. I’ll just work with the team around me and see how it goes.”
    Presque Isle earned a 5-2 victory over Orono last Tuesday. Just like on Friday, the visitors scored first, but Caleb Buck had the equalizer off assists by Brennen and Connor Shaw. Jacob Buck scored the go-ahead goal off a Brennen Shaw assist in the second period, and after Orono tied it, the Shaws assisted on each other’s goals in the final 19 seconds to make it 4-2.
    Flynn scored the first goal of his career off a face-off win by LaJoie to account for the final score. MacFarline and Nic Davis split the goalie chores for the Wildcats, who held a 32-15 advantage in shots on goal.



 ImageContributed photo/Dave Allen Graphics

    BRENNEN SHAW set the career points record at Presque Isle High School by slipping the puck past Greely goalie Matt Labbe and into the net during the second period of Friday’s game at the Forum. The Wildcats won, 5-4, to improve to 4-1 on the season.